Patients trust healthcare professionals with their lives. When we think about the patient-healthcare professional relationship in this light, we realize just how important it is for the relationship to be a healthy and honest one. When the relationship between a patient and their healthcare professional is strong, the patient’s health will improve. When the relationship is weak, the patient may struggle to understand their condition and diagnosis. This can cause their health to deteriorate
According to research, most patients expect to receive the same type of treatment and customer service from their healthcare professional as they would from a hotel, an airline, or a bank. This research also suggested that transparency and active listening are the main priorities for patients when it comes to finding a healthcare practitioner.
But how do patients go about finding a good and friendly healthcare professional? If you’re currently looking for a healthcare professional, then here are some of the qualities you should look out for during your search:
1. Qualifications and Experience
One of the main things patients need to find out whilst searching for a healthcare professional is the type of qualifications the healthcare professional holds, and the amount of experience they have. This is because the more experience they have treating patients with similar issues, the more likely they will be able to help you overcome your problems.
To do this, you will need to contact them. For example, if you’re trying to find a good NP, then give several nurse practitioners a call and ask them about their qualifications and experience. If you discover that they have only been a nurse practitioner for a few months, or they’ve only helped people with a certain condition, then they may not be able to help you overcome your issues.
Thankfully, the good news is that most nurse practitioners in the US have lots of experience and can help you overcome a range of problems. Even better, the NP role has been given much greater autonomy within the healthcare sector, so nurse practitioners can practice without physician oversight. This is very important in rural settings where there may not be as many physicians.
Another important quality that patients should look for in a medical professional is transparency. While it is acceptable that physicians may not know everything about every illness or diagnosis, they must share as much as possible with their patients.
Uncertainty is ok, as long as patients are told the truth. After all, most patients understand that doctors and nurses are humans too, and they can make mistakes. While most patients don’t want retribution when mistakes occur, they do want the physician to admit their errors and assure them that they are doing everything in their power to put the error right.
3. Excellent Communication Skills
Another quality to look for in a healthcare professional is excellent communication skills. These skills don’t just include speaking, they also include listening too. Healthcare professionals need to be able to engage with their patients to make sure that they can communicate directions to patients and respond to any concerns they may have. If directions aren’t communicated properly, there’s a good chance that patients will not understand their diagnosis or treatment options.
If a doctor is an active listener, patients are much more likely to feel comfortable sharing information with them. This may include sensitive information, related myths, assumptions, and much more. To have a good relationship with your physician, you will need to trust them completely, and believe that they are doing everything in their power to help you. If you are unable to talk to your doctor about important subjects, such as your health, then they may not be the right doctor for you.
5. Care and Connection
When looking for a healthcare professional, it’s important to try and find one that cares about you and has a connection with you. Most professionals will show that they care about you by spending time talking and listening to you. If the healthcare professional is dismissive of you, then there’s a good chance that they’re not interested in your problems.
6. Problem Solving Skills
Another important quality to look for in a healthcare professional is problem-solving skills. Healthcare professionals should be able to think outside the box and work out what they can do for a patient after the traditional methods don’t work. This is the difference between a mediocre healthcare professional and an amazing one.
7. Physical Endurance
Good healthcare professionals can spend long hours at work on their feet taking care of patients. If a healthcare professional struggles to concentrate for long hours or needs a break after each patient, then they may not be the right person to choose.
8. Quick Response Times
When choosing a healthcare professional, you need one that can respond quickly to emergencies. To do this, they will need to have an emergency plan in place, practice drills regularly, and have several fully stocked first aid kits available to them. If they are not able to respond quickly in these situations, then their patients could become seriously ill, or even die.
9. Dignity and Respect
Another important quality to look for in a healthcare professional is respect. No matter who you are, or how much money you don’t have, you deserve to be treated with respect. A healthcare professional can show you that they respect you by taking care of your underlying human needs. For example, if you are sat in a waiting room, and they notice you are dehydrated, they may choose to fetch you a glass of water.
While impressive offices and state-of-the-art equipment may look good, finding a physician that treats you with dignity and respect is much more important.
10. Willing to Advocate for Their Patients
Good healthcare professionals are strong advocates for their patients. They will do whatever it takes to help meet their patient’s needs. Whether that means acquiring the prescription they need or helping them navigate the healthcare system by finding specialists, they should be willing to offer that support to their patients.
11. Interpersonal Skills
Having great interpersonal skills means that the healthcare professional can work well with all kinds of different people. This includes doctors, nurses, receptionists, other employees, patients, and their families. Healthcare professionals need to feel comfortable talking to anyone, no matter how old they are, what type of education they have, or where they come from.
When searching for a healthcare professional, it’s important to find one that is flexible with their working hours and the needs of their patients. This might include finding a healthcare professional that works weekends, holidays, and overnight shifts.
A dismissive or unfriendly doctor can put patients off going for their check-ups or appointments. Doctors and other healthcare professionals only get one chance to make a good impression on their patients. Impressions take mere seconds and often determine the type of relationship a doctor has with their patient. This is why it’s important to choose a friendly doctor.
14. Emotional Stability
Although it can be difficult for healthcare professionals to remain emotionally stable a times, it’s necessary that during an appointment, they leave any outside emotions at the door. They need to be able to leave personal stresses at home so that they can provide you with the best care possible.
Empathy is more than simply caring for others; it also includes having the ability to put yourself in your patient’s shoes to better understand the pain and suffering they are experiencing. While this can be difficult for healthcare professionals if they haven’t experienced similar situations in the past, it is important for improving patient outcomes.
16. Willingness to Invest Time
Research has shown that the secret to better patient care is time. However, the average healthcare professional spends just 17 minutes talking to and diagnosing patients. While this may sound like a long time, it’s often not long enough to talk about and find answers to all of your problems. This means that you end up going home feeling like you’ve not got what you need.
However, the good news is that there are medical professionals out there who will spend much longer with their patients, discussing their needs. They will sit with their patients until all of their questions are answered. This is an important thing to look for when searching for a medical professional.
17. Pays Close Attention to Detail
Attention to detail is really important. In a healthcare environment, even a minor mistake can mean the difference between life and death. Although the role of a healthcare professional is stressful, healthcare professionals need to remember that there are consequences for all of their errors or actions.
Gone are the days when patients rely solely on traditional advertising, referrals, and word of mouth to select a healthcare professional. For modern patients, the approach to finding a new doctor has evolved, and it often starts with an online search.
However, this isn’t where it ends. Most patients will also want to make sure that the physician has all of the qualities of a good healthcare professional before making an appointment. If you’re thinking of visiting a new healthcare professional, make sure they have all of the qualities we’ve listed above.